Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Alixanther
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Alixanther » 28 Oct 2013 15:29

ChrisDR68 wrote:
KDF33 wrote:I'd argue that the best course Germany could have adopted would have entailed to abandon the concept of a single, decisive campaign and to set in motion, already in the autumn of 1940, the plans for mobilizing the manpower and the industrial capacity to deploy greatly augmented field forces in the winter and spring of 1942. Then, a decisive second summer campaign could have been confidently envisaged, hopefully aimed at Moscow rather than the Caucasus.

Regards,

KDF
So do you envisage three campaigns to defeat the USSR?

Possibly the first with the capture of Moscow as priority (looking at a map of Barbarossa Moscow doesn't look an enormous distance from the German start lines in June 1941) followed up by straightening the front line north and south of the Soviet capital.

Then the second campaign in 1942 aimed south with the capture of the Caucasus and north aimed at the capture of the Kola peninsular and ending with a general advance up to the Volga river in the centre.

If Hitler then thought he needed a final knockout blow against the Soviets (depending on the condition of both side's forces at the time) a third general offensive during 1943 aimed at reaching the Ural mountains could be attempted. There is a lot of evidence that these mountains were looked on by the Nazi's as a natural end point and defensive frontier to their eastern European ambitions.
KDF is right about early mobilisation however that means nothing if the campaigns do not provide results.
You cannot simply lunge at Moscow without securing flanks first. You'll end up with an early Stalingrad in late summer - early autumn '41. My "insane post" tackles some problems Germans had to deal with first: securing flanks, pacifying the occupied territories, create dissent into Stalin followers, decredibilize the Soviet regime home and abroad, take into account religion (most Westerners don't know even today that Christian-Orthodox faith becomes a BIG issue in Eastern Europe and Russia if not taken into consideration), and so on.

uhu
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by uhu » 12 Dec 2013 20:01

If the Wehrmacht wasn't distracted by the Italian fiasco in Greece and started the invasion in early May it would have been possible to arrive in the suburbs of Moscow in mid October. The Wehrmacht could have simply wintered in Moscow and resumed in the Spring. Moscow, being the transportation hub and central government of Russia, would have driven a stake into the heart of the Soviet system.

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LWD
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by LWD » 12 Dec 2013 20:23

uhu wrote:If the Wehrmacht wasn't distracted by the Italian fiasco in Greece and started the invasion in early May it would have been possible to arrive in the suburbs of Moscow in mid October. The Wehrmacht could have simply wintered in Moscow and resumed in the Spring. Moscow, being the transportation hub and central government of Russia, would have driven a stake into the heart of the Soviet system.
This has been discussed numerous times. There are very strong indicators that it wasn't the situation in the Balkans that delayed the invasion at least completely. Ground and river conditions were not condusive to a rapid offensive until after May that year.

ljadw
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 12 Dec 2013 20:44

uhu wrote:If the Wehrmacht wasn't distracted by the Italian fiasco in Greece and started the invasion in early May it would have been possible to arrive in the suburbs of Moscow in mid October. The Wehrmacht could have simply wintered in Moscow and resumed in the Spring. Moscow, being the transportation hub and central government of Russia, would have driven a stake into the heart of the Soviet system.
I have the following question for those who are speculating that if,... the Germans could be in Moscow in 4 months distance Brest-Litowsk-Moscow:934 km).


Question : If it was so,why were the Allies not in Hannover in october 1944 (distance Caen -Hannover=959 km)?

Probably,some people still are convinced that the superiority of the WM to the Red Army was much greater than the Allied superiority against the WM . :roll: 8O

uhu
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by uhu » 15 Dec 2013 21:01

[/quote]

I have the following question for those who are speculating that if,... the Germans could be in Moscow in 4 months distance Brest-Litowsk-Moscow:934 km).


Question : If it was so,why were the Allies not in Hannover in october 1944 (distance Caen -Hannover=959 km)?
[/quote]

Because the Wehrmacht and SS were in their way. Allies meet resistance, Wehrmacht pulls back and waits for Allied Air and Artillery, then sends out patrol to find HKL. Rinse, repeat. Takes time doesn't it.

uhu
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by uhu » 15 Dec 2013 21:37

LWD wrote:
uhu wrote:If the Wehrmacht wasn't distracted by the Italian fiasco in Greece and started the invasion in early May it would have been possible to arrive in the suburbs of Moscow in mid October. The Wehrmacht could have simply wintered in Moscow and resumed in the Spring. Moscow, being the transportation hub and central government of Russia, would have driven a stake into the heart of the Soviet system.
This has been discussed numerous times. There are very strong indicators that it wasn't the situation in the Balkans that delayed the invasion at least completely. Ground and river conditions were not condusive to a rapid offensive until after May that year.
The Pioneer units were good at bridging but it would have slowed them down, not stopped them.

"In late July and early August precious weeks were largely wasted while our High Command debated what strategy we should now pursue. Ukraine, the Donetz basin, the Caucasus, Lenningrad?"
(General Günther Blumentritt)

Put together, they could have been at Moscow's suburbs much earlier. The question that is impossible to answer is what Stalin would have done if Moscow was taken.

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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 16 Dec 2013 04:44

No:they could not be earlier at Moscow: everything was depending on the elimination of the Soviet forces in the area between the border and the Dvina-Dnepr line .

Moscow could be captured only if/after the SU was defeated .As the SU was not defeated,Moscow was not captured .

QED

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LWD
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by LWD » 16 Dec 2013 16:25

uhu wrote:
LWD wrote:
uhu wrote:If the Wehrmacht wasn't distracted by the Italian fiasco in Greece and started the invasion in early May it would have been possible to arrive in the suburbs of Moscow in mid October. The Wehrmacht could have simply wintered in Moscow and resumed in the Spring. Moscow, being the transportation hub and central government of Russia, would have driven a stake into the heart of the Soviet system.
This has been discussed numerous times. There are very strong indicators that it wasn't the situation in the Balkans that delayed the invasion at least completely. Ground and river conditions were not condusive to a rapid offensive until after May that year.
The Pioneer units were good at bridging but it would have slowed them down, not stopped them.
Bridging rivers in full flood is non trivial. The same with moving supplies and troops over muddy roads. If there initial advance doesn't move as fast then the Soviets have more time to form up in front of them which will slow them yet more. The net result could well be that they don't get as far as they did historically. Even if that doesn't turn out to be the case there's little chance of them makeing Moscow.
"In late July and early August precious weeks were largely wasted while our High Command debated what strategy we should now pursue. Ukraine, the Donetz basin, the Caucasus, Lenningrad?"
(General Günther Blumentritt)
Did the Germans go inactive during this period? Did they fail to resupply and prepair for future action? I'd like to see a case made for just what the Germans could have done during this period that they didn't do.
Put together, they could have been at Moscow's suburbs much earlier.
Or not. From the debates I've seen on the topic the "or not" case is the stronger.
The question that is impossible to answer is what Stalin would have done if Moscow was taken.
Interesting that yo say this one is impossible yet state unequivically that the Germans could have reached Moscow sooner.

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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Konig_pilsner » 16 Dec 2013 21:28

The assumption that Barbarossa could have been launched as planned earlier has been dispelled years ago, however.... If it had been and resulted in a slower initial advance perhaps more Russian reserves would have been moved to the front and eventually destroyed on mass earlier when the weather changed. I guess it depends on the casualties sustained by the Germans in the initial weeks and the Red Army's decision to commit its reserves to the border or keep them back in defence.

KP

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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Davey Boy » 17 Dec 2013 00:58

As I see it, the main issue for Germany was that if it decided to hurl itself into Russia, its slow supply lines would be dangerously overextended, which is actually what happened, and this was one of the main reasons for the defeat. Going forward with even more gusto would've just exacerbated the problem, and probably led to an even earlier rout of the German forces by the Red Army.

But then again, going slowly would've resulted in a war of attrition with an opponent with practically limitless raw and human resources, and the result would've been more or less the same in the end.

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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by KDF33 » 17 Dec 2013 11:49

I must disagree with the assumption that the USSR had "practically limitless" raw materials and manpower. They didn't, and in fact the damage done by Barbarossa reduced their industrial output to a mere fraction of Germany's. Likewise, their manpower situation was more precarious than is usually assumed, especially going into 1943.

There is no reason why attrition, ipso facto, would favor the Soviet side. Indeed for significant stretches of the conflict it didn't.

Regards,

KDF
Last edited by KDF33 on 18 Dec 2013 00:48, edited 1 time in total.

ljadw
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 17 Dec 2013 20:37

There also is no reason why the Germans should choose a war of attrition .
There are also a lot of obvious reasons why they should not choose a such war,which would be suicidal .

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LWD
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by LWD » 17 Dec 2013 21:09

ljadw wrote:... There are also a lot of obvious reasons why they should not choose a such war,which would be suicidal .
Or not. Certainly it's debateable.

KDF33
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by KDF33 » 18 Dec 2013 00:52

ljadw wrote:There also is no reason why the Germans should choose a war of attrition .
There are also a lot of obvious reasons why they should not choose a such war
Does anyone ever "chooses" to fight a war of attrition? Did the Soviets consciously fight a "war of attrition"? No, they simply tried to destroy the German forces facing them. That it took the time it did wasn't a deliberate choice, and indeed most of their major operations (winter 1942 general counteroffensive, winter 1943 series of offensives, etc.) were supposed to lead to a German collapse.

That attrition wasn't destined to favor the Soviets doesn't mean that the Germans should have consciously aimed at a slow pace of advance. Favorable attrition and rapid advances aren't in contradiction.

Here's a (long) post where I detail my views.

Regards,

KDF

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LWD
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by LWD » 18 Dec 2013 14:41

KDF33 wrote:
ljadw wrote:There also is no reason why the Germans should choose a war of attrition .
There are also a lot of obvious reasons why they should not choose a such war
Does anyone ever "chooses" to fight a war of attrition?
Yes. A classic example woult be the American Civil War paraticularly under Grant. In any case attrition is a fact of life in most military campaigns.
Did the Soviets consciously fight a "war of attrition"? No, they simply tried to destroy the German forces facing them. That it took the time it did wasn't a deliberate choice, and indeed most of their major operations (winter 1942 general counteroffensive, winter 1943 series of offensives, etc.) were supposed to lead to a German collapse.
I would argue that it was a conscious choice but it was also the only one that appeared viable at the time. I doubt any of those offensives were conducted expecting the Germans to surrender. On the other hand if your opponents front line collapses the attrition rate will likely turn in your favor in a rather dramatic fascion.
That attrition wasn't destined to favor the Soviets doesn't mean that the Germans should have consciously aimed at a slow pace of advance. Favorable attrition and rapid advances aren't in contradiction.
Arguably it did favor the Soviets, after all they ended up in Berlin. However it was arguably closer than many realize.

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